Mountain Bike-Packing in Oregon

In late August/early September, I traveled with a friend to Central Oregon for two weeks of mountain bike-packing. Mountain biking was my first real passion.  When I was a kid, I would build trails through the woods in my backyard, grab my Huffy and ride them back and forth all day.  In high school, I would ride my bike miles to my friend’s houses.  I escaped the stress of college by riding the trails behind my dormitory.  Within the last ten years, however, rock and ice climbing distracted me from my bike.  I’ve spent many days and nights in mountain ranges all over the country climbing or simply backpacking.  I had never gone on a multi-day trip with my bike.  Here on the east coast, it’s hard to piece together a mountain bike trip as the trails are confined to one area in twisting and looping singletrack that lead you right back to where you started.  When I was researching this trip, I discovered that out west, one can travel for many miles, across states, almost entirely on dirt.  We decided on Central Oregon, a place we’ve both never been, and planned out a 300 mile loop with over 100 of those miles on classic, high quality singletrack.  I turned 40 this year, I was excited to pay tribute to my love for mountain biking which initially brought me into the woods, a sport that eventually led to my discovery of the mountains and my place in this world.

 I had gone back and forth as to whether to bring my camera.  I knew I’d eventually decide to bring it, but the focus was on riding, navigating and camping each day.  I only brought my 18-55mm/3.5-5.6G kit lens which, on my Nikon DX body, was very limiting.  Our route started and ended in Bend.  We’d pass through arid scrubland, pine forests, on the banks of crystal clear blue lakes, lush river valleys, old growth forests, mountain ridges, lava fields and crater rims.  All the while, glaciated volcanic peaks rose above us.  The variety of the environments we biked through was jaw-dropping and the scenery was equal to that.  If I could, I would have spent a month biking that same route and spending days with all my camera equipment capturing sunrises, sunsets and everything in between.  

Here are some images I did capture along the way.